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Can you influence what you crave?

Posted Nov 16 2009 10:02pm

Junk Foodby Brett Blumenthal

Growing up, there was a clear distinction between my parents and what they craved.  Dad was the obvious chocolate and sweet lover.  Any reason to go to Friendly’s for ice cream sundaes was a happy occasion for him.  On the other hand, Mom had huge hankerings for potato chips and when the craving was really strong; she would buy a big bag of Lays and would put a good dent in them in a heartbeat.

As a kid, I was much more my Father’s daughter when it came to cravings.  My favorite treat was Chips Ahoy or Double Stuff cookies with a big glass of milk.  I would submerge the cookie in the milk long enough so that it would be supersaturated with milk and would barely stay together long enough for me to get it into my mouth.  It was heaven.

Although I still appreciate sweets and rarely pass up dessert when we go out to a nice dinner, when it comes to real cravings, I have seen a definite shift over the last fifteen years.  I am now a salt and protein hound.  My theory is that it is mostly due to exercise.  When I was a kid, I was active, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I was athletic.  When I went to college, this changed and I started to exercise regularly and have done so ever since.  Here is the logic:

  1. Obviously, when you exercise, you sweat…and sweating results in a substantial loss of sodium in the body.  This loss creates a biological need for replenishment.  Hence, my cravings have now become more oriented towards salty foods.
  2. I believe that I now crave lean meats and proteins as a result of my strength training regimen which has increased my need to rebuild and repair the muscles I work.

I think that exercise has had a tremendous impact on what I eat and what I want to eat.  Have you experienced a change in what you crave?  What do you think it is a result of?

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